Saturday, May 14, 2011

Living With Lions Album Review

Canadian pop-punk outfit Living With Lions may best be known north of the border, far from the sun and palm trees that most newbies associate with the genre, but that's not stopping them from carving out their own piece of pop-punk real estate in 2011 - beards included.

Living With Lions will be releasing their second full-length album, Holy Sh*t, this coming Tuesday. Add to that a current tour with Such Gold, a recently wrapped up slew of dates with The Wonder Years and Fireworks, and an upcoming appearance at Bledfest, and it's clear LWL are taking North America by storm.

But will Holy Sh*t make the mark when it hits the pop-punk community this week? Will this finally be the record to jump start the band's career outside their home country? If today's resurgence of heartfelt and honest pop-punk records leaves us any clue, then yes.

Holy is far from sunny and upbeat. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The album is bursting with grit, catchy hooks and a sense of nostalgia that will inevitably strike a chord with anyone who remembers better days.

Take for instance the sixth song on the record, "Maple Drive Is Still Alive". There's a mid-20s angst on the track that's only enhanced by the toe-tapping pop-punk beat. "We wasted days away/We kept the evenings long/Shared laughter and letdowns, beat out all the odds/Where are those days?"

The record also broods a sense of toughness between its nostalgic references and general uneasiness about life. Lead singer Stu Ross' vocals are raspy and grittier than most of what's heard in the pop-punk scene today, but it stands to work for the band. This isn't your whiney, south Florida punk. This is Vancouver pop-punk - where winters are cold and beards are thick.

So is this record worth your time? If you're looking for a pop-punk album that you can listen to even when it's snowy and cold out, then Holy Sh*t is your answer. Packed with honest lyrics and a tough exterior, this is one album that's versatile enough for all the seasons and all your moods.

Seriously, get stoked on it. The band have. The five members even went so far as to tattoo the album's title on their rear ends. Two letters for each member's cheek, with one dude inking the entire release date onto his behind. (Watch the LWL tattoo process here) Now that's dedication.

You can also stream the full album HERE.

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